Reporters couldn’t quite put their finger on it in the wake of Andy Reid‘s sideline blow-up in the direction of Cullen Jenkins. He has never been like that before, was our reaction, though that didn’t seem entirely true. We have seen him angry and animated plenty of times over the years.
What I think we were missing, which is more clear today, is that nobody has ever barked back. Here’s the video if you want to re-watch it. Normally Reid will say his piece, the player or coach will absorb the criticism, and life returns to normal. In this case, though, Jenkins rose off the bench and challenged the coach.
“It’s an emotional game,” Reid said afterwards. “He was fired up. I was fired up. Those things happen. Cullen is my primary leader on that defensive line so I count on him for a lot of things. He was upset, and I was upset. We talked about it afterwards, and we’re OK.”
“He comes at you,” said Jenkins of Reid. “He wants to get the best out of you. He wants to make sure you’re focused and the right stuff is going on, that’s all. You have to respect that and you can’t fault that as players. Obviously, that’s not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional.”
That’s all fine and well.
Then there was DeMeco Ryans‘ reaction to the dust-up during his in-game interview with ESPN.
“There was a lot of penalties, so he was getting on us about the penalties,” said Ryans. “It was a little — it got a little too rowdy for preseason, it’s a little too early for that. But we know the importance of it. He’s trying to teach us to be smart.”
Ryans was asked to clarify his statements after the game.
“Just joking about it,” said Ryans. “It’s good to see that fire from your head coach. That’s the way he wanted to do it, that’s the way we handled it, so we have to appreciate when your coach gets fired up like that.”
It could be nothing. It could be that Reid has found some strong-willed leaders on the defense with firm opinions and a chip to their approach. Given the absence of defensive leadership in recent seasons, that would be a welcomed development. Whatever it is, there was at least a hint of defiance Monday night, which is pretty-much unheard of under this regime.
Most fell in line with the coach, however.
“I’d be pretty warm too if we had 22 penalties,” said Darryl Tapp. “We have to continue to work on our on-the-fly judgment. Not do for lack of effort — everybody’s out there busting their tails trying to make something happen, especially at this critical point of the preseasson.”
Jason Kelce thinks Reid’s temper is flaring up because of what he’s seeing from the first-team offense.
“I think the way the offense has played during the first game and the start of this game is unacceptable,” said Kelce. “I think that’s why he’s been so animated because that’s something he’s not going to tolerate from the expectations that are on our shoulders this year. He’s animated because quite frankly the starting offense at the start of this game and last game has done very poorly.”
Penalties. Large expectations. Unacceptable play. Many reasons were given for the Reid-Jenkins scene. Whatever it is, it’s not normal behavior. And, as Ryans said, this is just the preseason.
“He doesn’t do that that much and you know when he does it, it means something because he’s not just going to do something to do it,” said Brandon Graham. “That’s what I learned being here these two, three years. He’s really a straight up guy; as long as you’re straight up with him, he’s straight up with you. He might have just seen a problem and addressed it.”